Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stations with QR codes

  1. Stations- Largely used in elementary classrooms and not enough in middle and high school.
  1. A QR code can be used to take a person to a website, image, video, document, etc. My favorite way of making QR codes is with the Google url shortener, Copy the url link of the site you want the QR code to go to. Paste the link into the Google url shortener and press shorten url. Press details under the shortened url. Put your cursor over the QR code and right click. Select copy image. Now you can put the QR anywhere you want. There many other ways to make QR codes. This is just one way. shorten1.png

  1. Create Google Slides with the a QR code of a site and 3 questions related to it. Students can be asked to give an opinion on the image, discuss something about the image, or answer content specific questions about it. For example, the above image has a house next to a lake. For my Spanish students, I would put questions like, where is the house? Would you visit this place? Why or Why not? Give this image a title. code4.png
  2. Print the Google Slides out.
  3. Students can stand up and at the sound of a bell or gong, they can rotate to the next station.
  4. If you don’t want students moving around, you can have the printed Google Slide to be handed off to the group to the left of them.
  5. If students are writing down the answers, you might want their answers to be brief so that each station doesn’t take too long.
  6. At the end of the rotations, have a class discussion of what they saw and what they learned in order to wrap the lesson up, or use the activity as a lead into the next lesson.
  7. QR code stations can be used with any subject and any unit.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Teaching with Twitter

  1. Talk about rules and expectations of appropriate behavior.
  2. Explain the purpose of using Twitter in class. Give specific examples as to how it can help them improve in your subject area. How it will help them reach out to a bigger audience than just your class.
  3. Have students create an account. Even if they already had a personal one, it’s a good idea to have them create an account that they will use for school.
  4. Have students share their Twitter handle with you. I created a simple Google Doc with two columns, one for their name and another for their Twitter Handle. I put the Doc in Google Classroom and gave all students editing rights. Once they created their accounts, they would then put the information into the Doc.
  5. Have students use it right away. I had students follow a specific list of companies, sources that related to my subject.
  6. Think of a hashtag that you will use for your classes. Check on Hashatit to see whether the hashtag is already been used and by whom.
  7. Have students write a tweet using a hashtag that you assign for your class. I used #SweetBP1. Which is my last name, first initial, period 1. That way when I read the tweets I could separate them by class period.
  8. Follow-up with it. Give students opportunities to use Twitter every week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Video Editing with Chromebooks

  1. We Video- is a Chrome Add-On. Edit by dragging and dropping the segments into the timeline. Saves to Google Drive or can be uploaded to other sites.
  2. Magisto- Upload the video, select a theme, music, and it’s done.
  3. Stupleflix Video Maker- Make unlimited videos up to 20 minutes long for free. All videos are public. Select from 16 different themes. Upload easily to Vimeo or YouTube. Allows voiceover.

New features in Google Classroom

  1. Google Forms- When you assign a Google Form as an assignment in Google Classroom, it will now show you the results with one click within Google Classroom. It will also mark the assignment done once the students fill out the form. You can add the Google Form as an Announcement, but it will not mark the assignments done when completed.  Screenshot 2015-10-28 at 9.40.23 AM.png
  2. Google Calendar- Each class in Google Classroom now has its own calendar. It’s not in an obvious location when you go into your classes. You will need to click on the Classroom Menu on the top left corner classroom4.png

and then select Calendar. classroom 2.pngClick on the Classroom Menu to filter the calendar by class. If you go to you will also see the calendar. If you have more than one class, you will see a different color for each class. The calendar will automatically add assignments as you add them to your Google Classroom. It saves you an additional step if you were using Google Calendar to keep students informed of upcoming assignments.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day of the Dead/Halloween Activity with PicMonkey

Objective: To learn about the Day of the Dead. To use technology to further enhance the learning experience.


  1. Take a selfie using the camera on your Chromebook. Screenshot 2015-10-27 at 8.09.42 AM.pngSave it your Drive.
  2. Go to
  3. Click on Edit for Free on the top right corner. Screenshot 2015-10-27 at 8.10.34 AM.png
  4. Click on the cat icon cat1.png
  5. Click on Day of the Dead. cat2.png
  6. Next, pull up the selfie you took earlier. cat 3.png
  7. Now click on the options on the left of picMonkey to add bone color, eye sockets, nose holes, etc.
  8. All features with a crown icon are premium options.
  9. You can click on the back arrow to the left of All Themes to find other accessories that you might want to use.
  10. Click Save when you’re done.
  11. Post students individual masterpieces on a shared Google Doc in Google Classroom. Making it easy to see all of them in one place.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Strategies for dealing with 1:1 discipline

Taking away a device is not an acceptable approach to discipline in the 1:1 classroom.

Some tips:

  1. Control when the student opens and closes the device. It’s a natural tendency to be bored and pull out your phone from your pocket and play with it. In the same manner, students don’t always intentionally open their computer to play games, just to annoy you.
  2. Lids closed means lids closed. You can take off participation points for not following instructions. You can give them 3 warnings and then notify the parents.
  3. Make your lessons interesting. The student will not be tempted to wander off if your lessons are engaging.
  4. Give students a website or activity that they can work on when there is free time or when they are waiting for others to finish. This a good opportunity to scaffold and give the high achievers an opportunity to be challenged. Tell students where to find these activities in Google Classroom or on your website, so that they always know where to go to find them.

Excellent listening comprehension tool

Listen Current offers a variety of audio recordings for English, Science, and Social Studies. They have current event recordings, as well that have been filtered. They make sure that the content is appropriate for students by eliminating adds and before allowing it on their site. It has a free account for teachers, as well as the premium account. The free account allows you access to all the lessons, but is limited in the additional resources that are available to you. Listening comprehension skills is a concern for teachers. Finding good listening resources that are easy to use and already made can be difficult. Listen Current has done the job for us by making it an easy to use resource.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chromebook Edu Digital Badge

Digital badges are a great way to engage learners and motivate them. That is why many games, conferences, and schools are now offering digital badges as incentives. Badges can proudly be displayed on blogs, email, and websites. With that in mind, I create my own digital badge for teachers that are using Chromebooks in their classrooms.

To earn the badge, click on the image above. It will redirect you to another site. Submit evidence of an amazing lesson you did using Chromebooks in your classroom. It can be a photo, a link, a description, a video, etc.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The journey of a Doctoral Candidate

When I decided to pursue a doctoral degree the reaction of my friends and loved ones surprised me. They all thought I was nuts. They couldn’t understand how I would willingly choose such a difficult path. I was asked if I was getting my doctorate because it would give me a better paying job. The answer was no. At this point people were very confused. Different people choose to pursue a doctoral degree for different reasons. For me, it was because I wanted a challenge. I wanted to see if I could do it. It would also been nice to say that it would highly increase my pay, but as an educator, the increase would not compensate for the amount of money or time spent.
I spent several years taking the core classes and then it was time for the dissertation courses. I worked primarily with my Chair and then with an assigned Committee. I wrote and rewrote my research to the point where I was sick of it. I found that the classes weren’t hard, it was the process that was hard. See, for every edit I made to my dissertation, it had to go to my Chair who then either made edits and handed it back or sent it to my subject matter expert, and then to my representative in the graduate school. If any of those people had edits, my dissertation would return to me and the process would re-start.
Four years went by and my friends and family were constantly asking when I would finish my degree. The answer I always gave was “I don’t know”. Again, they didn’t understand my response. Unlike a bachelors or masters degree, you’re not done when you finish a list of classes. You’re done when each person in your committee has signed off on each milestone document.
There were so many times where I was told to fix something that I didn’t know what it was or where to start. When I asked, I was always told “you are a doctoral candidate. You should know the answer.” Well, I didn’t. The frustration at times made me question whether I was smart enough for the program and whether I had made a wrong choice.
At some point I was too deep into my coursework to give up. I was either going to walk out with nothing, or keep going. I chose to keep going, and I’m glad I did. Now I am officially done with everything and officially Dr. Barbara Sweet, Ed.D. I now have empathy for other doctoral candidates. I understand the agony and the relief at the end.

If I can suggest to others how to support the doctoral candidates in their lives, it would be to not ask them when they will be done, but to instead ask them where they are in the process and help them celebrate the small milestones along the way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Screensharing & video calls with

Screenshot 2015-10-19 at 2.59.08 PM.png is a free service that allows you to screenshare with others and have video chats with several people. You simply share the link to your chat with the people you are inviting. If you want to make the room private, you can lock the room. It does not require the download of software, a plus if you are working on a Chromebook.

It doesn’t record the conversation, so it wouldn’t be useful for a flipped classroom scenario, but it would come in handy for collaborating with others in real-time.

Students can use to make online study groups, connect with friends that have moved away, bring guest speakers to the class, etc.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How to make a Thinglink

screenshot 2015-10-15 at 10.06.44 am.png
Press the create button to start a new Thinglink.

Choose the image that you want to upload.
screenshot 2015-10-15 at 10.39.48 am.png

Once you’ve selected an image, give your Thinglink a title.
screenshot 2015-10-15 at 10.50.31 am.png

Click anywhere on the image to create a tag. It will look like a button. Screenshot 2015-10-15 at 10.56.56 AM.png
It will automatically open a menu on the left of the screen. This is where you can put the web link to the source. It can be a video, image, doc, etc.
screenshot 2015-10-15 at 10.59.46 am.png

Clicking on the icon symbol will allow you to change the image. The free account only has access to some icons. If you want more, you will need purchase the premium version.
screenshot 2015-10-15 at 11.02.55 am.png

The icon will display on the right showing you a preview you of what is being linked. You can write some additional text in the Text box, if you wish. Then, press Save Tag.

I can move the tag to anywhere on the image.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 at 11.08.25 AM.png

Find a variety of sources and add them as tags.
Screenshot 2015-10-15 at 11.14.36 AM.png

Click Save Image when you are done adding tags.
screenshot 2015-10-15 at 11.14.36 am.png

Now you can share your Thinglink. Press the share icon. A menu will pop up on the left with the url of your Thinglink.

screenshot 2015-10-15 at 11.18.06 am.png

Here’s the link to the one I made

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Log in with Google Plus

There are so many websites that you have to sign into and remember your username and password, it’s hard to keep track of it all. I encourage students to use the sign in with Google Plus if it’s available. Since we’re a Google School and all students have school Gmail accounts, it makes it easy to sign into new programs. Simply press the red button, then press accept, and you are logged in. Programs that are integrated with Google Drive will save your work to your Drive automatically. It is also a time-saver, making it quicker for students to sign in, instead of creating a login and password each time we try a new program.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kern CUE 2015 was held at CSU Bakersfield.

What an amazing day full of motivated teachers and administrators. Teachers were encouraged to start tweeting right away using #kerncue15. They called it a Tweetervention, ha!

Alice Keeler was the Keynote Speaker. She’s the author of 50 Things you can do with Google Classroom.  I admire Alice Keeler’s work, so I was super excited to meet her.

I was one of the presenters.

I had two sessions of Teaching with Chromebooks.
I had so much fun meeting teachers and administrators, and sharing our knowledge with one another.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to minimize distractions in the 1:1 classroom

Monitoring a classroom full of students with electronic devices can be a daunting task. What can you do to keep students focused?

stay focused.JPG

  1. Set rules and expectations. Set boundaries for when it is appropriate to be on the computer or tablet and when not. For example, if you are explaining something, you can say “lids down” and students should follow your instructions.
  2. Set consequences. I’ve integrated technology into my behavior management strategies. I use Class Dojo for participation points. Students that are not following instructions, lose points.
  3. Reduce the number of tabs. Students don’t need 20 tabs open at once. Not to mention that it slows down the internet. Tell them to only have the tab for your class open. This will keep them from switching between tabs to their games when you aren’t looking.
  4. Teach appropriate use of the device. Just because they can do almost anything with their camera or video, doesn’t mean that they should.
  5. Set the seats so that you can stand in the back of the room and see all devices at once.
  6. Try the Chrome extension Stay Focused. It limits the amount of time you are spending on websites that waste your time.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Storify for storytelling

If you've ever participated in a Twitter chat, you've probably seen that the Tweets will sometimes be saved by the originator of the session with Storify. Storify allows you to collect content from a variety of online sources and compile them into one place as a story. The drag and drop features makes it super easy to create.

YouTube video from Ryan Bosson offers ideas on how to use Storify in the World Language classroom to make learning real and relevant to students.